Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oil industry ready to work with Obama on global warming

Jeroen van der Veer, left, of Royal Dutch Shell, and Tony Hayward of BP at this week’s oil industry conference in Houston (Michael Stravato for The New York Times).


HOUSTON — Confronted with a sharp change of priorities in Washington, international oil executives are expressing an eagerness to work with President Obama to fashion new policies to tackle global warming.

At an industry conference here this week, the executives struck a conciliatory tone on how to limit the emissions that are contributing to climate change, with many of them sounding like budding conservationists as they stressed energy efficiency and the need to develop renewable fuels.

At the same time, they declared that the country would still need oil for a long time, and sought to persuade the new administration of the need for more drilling off the nation’s coasts.

On tackling global warming, a subject that has long divided the industry, some executives said they supported a tax on carbon, while others favored a trading system like the one adopted by Europe. Almost all of them seemed reconciled to the United States’ adopting some kind of climate policy, and said they were eager to work with the new administration to devise an effective energy strategy.

“President Obama comes to office with a strong commitment to tackle climate change,” said Tony Hayward, the chief executive of BP. “Suddenly the challenges many of us have been wrestling with for a long time — the importance of energy security in providing economic security, and tackling the issue of climate change in a way that is commercially viable — are center stage.”

Oil Industry Ready to Work on Global Warming

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